Thursday, 18 January, 2018

SpaceX successfully launches top-secret Zuma spacecraft

The Falcon Heavy ready to The Falcon Heavy ready
Delores Daniels | 08 January, 2018, 04:33

The two-hour launch window opens at 8pm ET.

According to Space.com, the launch will involve a re-entry attempt by the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral's Landing Zone 1 - SpaceX has pulled off 20 such re-entries previously. Few details have been released about the classified mission, known as Zuma, other than it includes a satellite built by Northrop Grumman Corp.

The new nine-engine rocket will launch from pad 39A and will take the secret payload to a low orbit.

The current weather forecast predicts an 80 percent chance of favorable launch conditions. This is SpaceX's third classified mission, and arguably its most secretive flight for the USA military.

The webcast of the launch did not follow the second stage carrying the payload after it separated from the first stage.

The launch is SpaceX's first in what is expected to be a busy year.

The first launch this year carried a special payload - Zuma, a secretive spacecraft commissioned by the USA government for an undisclosed mission. (SpaceX has had 17 consecutive successful landings, so they're getting pretty good at this). But Sunday's launch is perhaps the company's most secretive yet.

SpaceX just sent a secret government mission to space.

SpaceX has launched national security payloads in the past, including a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force.

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